Philadelphia May ‘Green’ Its 10-Year Tax Abatement
Two Philadelphia City Council members have proposed that homeowners achieve a LEED certification for their dwellings to qualify for the city’s 10-year tax abatement. The higher the certification level—Silver, Gold, or Platinum—the more property tax relief the homeowner could earn, according to the plan. “If we’re going to be a truly green city, we need to take some serious steps to that end,” said co-sponsor Curtis Jones Jr.

Jacksonville Could Offer Financial Incentives to LEED-Certified Builders
City officials in Jacksonville, Fla., are considering a law to cover $1,000 of the fees a builder must pay toward LEED certification. Under the plan, the city’s Environmental Protection Board would allocate $100,000 for the incentives for commercial and residential buildings that meet LEED standards. 

Pennsylvania’s Governor Pushes for Green Building Code
Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell devoted just a few sentences to green building during a budget speech, but green building advocates say they hope he will follow through with a push for a statewide green building code. "If we are going to become energy independent and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we need to push the envelope on conservation,” the governor said. "A green building code does exactly that."

Popularity of LEED Could Spur Building-Industry Lawsuits
A handful of lawyers are seeking certification as a LEED accredited professional in anticipation of lawsuits against building pros stemming from the green building certification. Some possible lawsuits-waiting-to-happen, according to attorneys: If a project fails to win LEED certification and a developer loses a tax credit as a result, the developer could try to pin the blame on—and recover damages from—builders, contractors, or architects.

Ontario’s Sweeping Energy Bill Aims to Create 50,000 Jobs
Officials of Canada’s most-populated province are mulling over a broad energy bill that would usher in high efficiency standards for household appliances and require homeowners to have energy audits before putting their houses up for sale. The Green Energy Act would create 50,000 jobs and move the province closer to its goal to eliminate coal as an electricity source by 2014, supporters said.

Energy-Efficient Buildings Could Skirt Voter Referendum Rule in Indiana
Taxpayers aren’t happy with a proposal in the Indiana General Assembly to exempt energy-efficient public buildings from a requirement to let citizens vote on whether to go forward with construction that could raise property taxes. State Democrats say the measure will allow school districts and governments to spend their economic stimulus money on “green” projects without delay.

Florida Cities Push Local Contractors to Build Green
Local Florida building codes may not override state regulations to force contractors to build green, but a few cities are strongly encouraging them to do just that. Three cities in central Florida’s Volusia County are offering incentives for green building and another has adopted a resolution to "make every reasonable effort to comply with and support green building technology programs and any forthcoming regulations."

District of Columbia Councilwoman Aims to Dim Outdoor Lighting
A District of Columbia City Council member wants to dim the bright lights in the big city. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh has proposed to regulate how much light emanates from commercial buildings by lowering the lumens, shielding the bulbs, and putting more lights on timers and motion sensors. She’s also pushing for voluntary restrictions—and incentives—for homeowners to use less outdoor light.

Obama Speech Reveals Urgency About Renewable Energy
Only the troubled economy got bigger play than renewable energy in President Obama’s first major speech in February, prompting analysts to predict growing government attention to solar, wind, and biofuels.